The students who participated in the Kathakali (Group) competitions in the Kalotsavam were in for a rude shock when they arrived at the venue at Rajendra Maidan. While it is a great idea to have the Kathakali performances in an open air auditorium, it is not always so great having to don the make-up also in the open!

The organisers had simply forgotten that Kathakali needed hours of make-up, that girls were also among the participants and that they would need some covered areas for the make-up. As time was running out, most of the participants began donning their make-up right under the trees by the backwaters in the open grounds.

But, lying on the ground with open eyes proved a trial for the students.

With dust falling in the eyes, it was impossible to lie down and the dust was also getting into the `manayola' and `chayilyam' used to paint the face as part of the `chutti.'

The girls were lying down with their body covered with sheets. As protests rose, the organisers tried to hastily put up a makeshift make-up room with coconut leaves.

Renu Ramanath

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